Cancer diagnosis linked to better outcomes in Alzheimer’s disease

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In a study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, scientists found people with a cancer diagnosis have better outcomes in Alzheimer’s disease.

They showed dementia patients with cancer history had better cognition at dementia diagnosis and declined slower than dementia patients without a cancer history.

With increased age comes the increased risk to develop cancer or dementia. Both conditions share similar risk factors such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

Many cancer patients experience cognitive impairment from cancer and its treatments with symptoms similar to dementia.

In the study, the team found overall patients with one cancer diagnosis had an approximately 1.1-point higher cognitive baseline score and cognitive decline and seemed to progress slightly slower than non-cancer patients.

However, patients who had two or more cancer diagnoses saw an approximately 1.5-point lower cognitive score than those without a prior cancer diagnosis.

The team says the next step is to ask why there is this overall inverse relationship and why two or more cancers seem to alter this link.

Could it be because early signs of cognitive decline were captured earlier due to a cancer patient’s receiving frequent medical attention?

Is it something that is more biologically driven? What about race, socioeconomic status or other social determinants of health? There are many questions to be answered by future studies.

The team notes major study limitations include not being able to differentiate by cancer or dementia type and stages and that all study participants were from one hospital.

They hope to add these variables into future studies with larger, more geographically diverse samples.

If you care about Alzheimer’s, please read studies about the root cause of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s, and 5 steps to protect against Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that herb rosemary could help fight COVID-19 and Alzheimer’s disease, and results showing this stuff in mouth may help prevent Alzheimer’s.

The study was conducted by Mackenzie Fowler et al and published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

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